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Are you guilty of driving while distracted? You’re not alone

Tampa area drivers have likely witnessed their fair share of bizarre and downright dangerous driving behaviors. In many cases, drivers who are guilty of running red lights, failing to stop at stop signs and veering into adjacent lanes of traffic; are distracted and engaging in some other non-driving-related activity.

Eating, grooming in the mirror, talking on a cellphone and texting while driving are all highly distracting activities in which far too many drivers routinely engage. According to Distraction.gov, during 2012, more than 3,300 people in the U.S. lost their lives and approximately 387,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents that were attributed to distracted driving.

While national and state safety organizations have taken steps to raise awareness of the many dangers associated with distracted driving, numerous studies and statistics show that a significant percentage of drivers aren’t taking the issue seriously. For example, 2011 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that approximately 660,000 drivers are talking on their cellphones every minute. Additionally, a University of Michigan survey found that one in five teen drivers admits to regularly responding to a text message while driving.

There’s no doubt that cellphones have contributed to an increase in distracted driving, but other seemingly more accepted activities like talking to backseat passengers, eating and tuning the radio also increase the likelihood that a driver will be involved in or cause a collision. All drivers would be wise to keep their eyes, attention and focus on the road. In cases where an individual is injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, legal action may be taken to recover compensation.

Source: Distraction.gov, “Facts and Statistics,” March 5, 2015